Thursday, 21 February 2013

Patricia Farrell and Andrew Taylor Reading

I'm so excited for this. I may be more excited for this than I'd be if Steven Gerrard offered to suck my toes. This coming Saturday it is. I've heard both Patricia Farrell and Andrew Taylor reading before, and they're both great. It's an interesting mix as well, in the sense that they're quite different, so it'll be nice to seem 'em together.

Anyways, I'm rambling on. The event is being held in The Ship and Mitre, Liverpool (133 Dale Street, L3 2JH). Saturday 23rd of this month, 1400-1600hrs. Hope to see you there, you'll like it I'm sure.

If you want to read a bit about the poets and their work, as well as more info on the event, check out Robert Sheppard's blog Pages.

Here be The Ship and Mitre's site, looks like a cool place (and not just because of the real ale and rum). It doesn't actually have the details of the event (that I can see) but you've got the link to Pages for that.

The poets are also mentioned on the writing group Written Inc's page here.


Thursday, 14 February 2013

Honestly Lacerated Love-Bites

Taunt wraith-like sabotage,
Ungodliest bonehead ponce.
Beef hot death-bed hen,
Suck off homiest sprung rhythm.
Good! Inconstant, burbling,
Warm disenchanted dungeons –
The pedophile up her legend.
Tidy convivial wrencher cheapens
Useful capricious sedition.
Fool! So true, fury.
Hallowedly nauseate slick vanity,
Innovate. Outlast tube.
Moth-eaten, thrashes hotter –
Shhh! I am wise, if offend,
Mightiest, meriting blooding.
Witch watch, grow plot,
The exact, pottiest lush.
Adore hot stuff (of hung thug),
Duteously, honour devotee,
Ship. And spit. In Satanist,
Faultily idle by cow hand,
Suffocate or armpit.
Enchant, five hack thug!
Ha ha! Bed-wetting atheist –
Evildoer of fearful moron.
I’m the handsome wages.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013


From the Latin pundo, pundare, punditi, punditum meaning 'to make bad jokes'.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Not Chewing Gum

Just read David Shrigley's Red Book. I think it's appropriate to say 'read', I mean it is a collection of cartoons* essentially. It's not the first time I've been Shrigleyfied, but this is the first of his work that I've bought.

I guess there's two things you need to know about it:

  1. It deals with a lot of existential angst
  2. It is funny

There's also a kind of poetry in there, visual poetry to be specific.

It's good stuff. It encouraged me to get back to cartooning immediately, after so much thinking and not acting. I occasionally look back over my old cartoons. Many of them are cringey, like, totally cringey.

Now I fear much less.

*'Visual art', if you want to be all poncey about it...

Friday, 8 February 2013

Me Me Me

Sorry: this is going to be all about me again. I hate whining, but talking about myself inevitably turns into some kind of whine or moan (just a thought, how about 'whoan' as a word? A cross between a whine and a moan. No? Okay...). Then again I have been talking about recent changes in my writing and I hope they've been useful to you. I reiterate that hope today.

As I've said before, I feel like my writing stamina has improved since my relatively long blog-a-day stint last month. My impetus to write, however, seems to obey its own rules. One day I feel like I've got nothing, am never going to have anything and should give up the idea of being a writer, then the next day I write a couple of bits of fiction and some other none fiction. The day after may be more of an ideas day than a writing one. Today it has been reasonably hard.

I think forcing yourself to do things when you don't want to is  pretty easy. In terms of writing anyway... In terms of my diet, it's far too easy to over-eat and most of the time, love or money wouldn't be enough to get me out on a jog, for example. But anyway, when writing, I've taken the message that it's okay to write shit, as long as you're writing (ta Chris Beckett), and I don't feel writer's block when working on a new piece.

HERE IS THE MOAN: I'm still so annoyed at myself that I can't finish things. Can't or won't, I don't really know (hmm, seems like we could've done with another contraction in that sentence...). I'd say of all the ideas I've ever had, I've probably started a third of them? Maybe a bit more. Then of that third, I've probably finished... blimey... I can't decide if it's more like a fifth or a tenth... Well, at best, of the overall number I finish around a thirtieth of all the ideas I have. I don't think that's a reliable figure at all, but I'm trying. It's terrible though - I drive my writing snowplow into the avalanche, make a decent dent, and then just stop. Later on, start work on another avalanche, make decent headway again then stop. A year later, so many first drafts have been started then just been ignored...

Part of this is due to confidence. I tell myself some things aren't worth further work, when maybe they are. Also, I get so excited about new projects, so older ones just naturally fall by the wayside. It's stupid though, I'm being all 'high and mighty' about writing more, but it's like making a meal. Sure it's great if you make loads of different dishes, but if you don't finish them then you've really wasted a lot of (good?) stuff. Bah, I dunno, I'm just not in a great mood... Again taking some advice from Chris, he says stories can have a long gestation period (twenty years, in the case of one of his), so maybe I shouldn't worry so much. It's hard to take good advice to heart, though, when negative emotion soaks in easier than red wine on a white carpet.

It could all be part of my process. Maybe it's part of yours? Since there are no definite yeses here, however, if you don't mind I'll just assume the worst and go drink and cry and whoan into the wind.

Thursday, 7 February 2013


I know how eager you bloggish folk are for new and exciting things, be they posts, products or plans for world domination. Well, I'm sure you'll all remember the features I use to have on this blog. Oh yes, there was 'interesting word of the day', 'song stuck in my head of the day' and, who could forget, my 'rate-a-wank' service. Neither of them have been particularly successful, admittedly, but my NEW thingummy is going to be brilliant.

You ready?

It's my 'their babies would be awesome' feature. First up:

Bradley Cooper et Jeff Bridges

Megan Fox, Kristen Stewart et Steve Buscemi
Good stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.
Peace out!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Unrelated to Samuel

Yesterday was talk time again at Edge Hill. Chris Beckett, unrelated to Sam the playwright as far as I know, was the main event, though there was more (you'll have to read more to find out! Ooh, I'm horrible!). Yeah I feel I could really babble on about this, but I'll try not to. Me and an MA buddy were talking afterwards about how, no matter what poetics or interviews you read, there is nothing like seeing a writer talk live. The main part of their appearance is either reading from something they've written or them just talking, but the QnA especially is completely ad-libbed, so it gives their message a weight that you don't get with a piece of poetics they've re-drafted and crafted. In honour of this 'live' wonderment, I'm not going to edit this post. As you can tell it's getting pretty ragged already, so I'll try and crack on.

I felt his points were particularly powerful as they addressed the professional writer and the 'real writer'. That is to say, the professional one is the one the public sees, and his message on the professional side was that one has to be proactive. Even if you don't like people (who, me?), you have to accept that you can't shut yourself away in your garrett and thrive. You have to network, to make a nuissance of yourself and to GET OUT THERE basically.

To the 'real' writer (I wish I'd not chosen that way of saying it, it creates so many obvious problems of semantics...), he said be prepared to write shit. I don't think he swore. Embrace writing, don't worry that not everything is your best and, indeed, accept that some things are beyond salvation. Keep going though, and you'll find those golden nuggets in time. Now these are all simple messages for writers. You'll have heard them all many times before. What me and my MA chum were saying, though, was that the way they say it makes it seem new and refreshing each time. It's like a collage of similar messages making a pretty pastel picture of meaning. Also, for his part, Mr Beckett is a very warm and humble man. He read from Dark Eden which sounds fantastic, it's definitely going on the wishlist.

As I said, though, Chris wasn't the only writer I saw. Obviously there were Edge Hill tutors (it's always nice to see Ailsa Cox at events, she always does a lovely job compering), but also Carys Bray. I took a chance to ask her a few questions off the cuff. I'm ashamed that I spent so much time blathering on about what I was up to when she asked, a bit embarrassing but that's my fault. I asked her what life was like after being published, and it seems the world has kept turning for her. She laughed that it sounded depressing, but I don't know, maybe it's quite the opposite. Anyways, her book Sweet Home is on my wishlist and for some reason I haven't bought it yet. There is, should we say, a slight issue with last month's pay from work, when that gets resolved I PROMISE I will buy her book, I've been looking forward to it for ages. I'll even put off buying my bongos.

Right you can tell this post hasn't been edited. Perhaps it's not the most fitting tribute to Chris' live appearance, as he was actually very eloquent. I think it's fair to say, even by my usual standards, that this has been stilted, awkward and generally like a politician's apology... Still, I said I'd do it. Next one will be better... Please come back!

Friday, 1 February 2013


Hey folks, how are y'all today?

I've been thinking about the fact that I've blogged for nearly every day last month and, as I've said in other posts, I got plenty of views and some comments. That was very nice and all, but there has been a bit of a downside. I know some people have been a little bit fed up of the updates I've been posting which has made me think about cooling it down a bit.

There are some people who have done really well publishing every day. Calum Kerr did a great job on Flash365 (I believe his wife is currently doing a flash fiction piece a day). Incidentally a book containing a selection of some of them is available. I admire the patience, persistence and skill that he has and may try to do something like it in the future (hopefully without annoying people with my updates!). For now, however, I feel like I've done a lot of good (improving writing fitness, increasing confidence, encouraging a wee bit of discussion etc) and am going to tone it down now.

I'm not stopping blogging, or anything, I just want to compare and contrast a blog-heavy month with a blog-lite month. I have a workshop session coming up later in the month, so I want to get cracking on a piece for that. Will not spending as much time on here make me uber-productive elsewhere? I don't know, but let's see...

Speaking about writing though, I recently submitted a wee piece for a competition to win a copy of Threshold by David Hartley. It felt good doing a hundred-word piece, there was a sense of freedom to have fun. On the reading side of things, I really rather like Le Cafe Du Jour. N starts all the posts I've read with an artistic quote. It makes for great reading because it gets your mind going on themes and contexts before the body of the post. I think it's a great way of writing, especially since some people have made novels out of much of that material, right David Markson? It's all so thoughtful, so aware and well-written. I'd check it out if I were you, but since I'm me, I can be happy that I already have.

Oookay, so bit of a longer post than I'd normally like, well done if you made it to the end. So long! Peace out.